How to Manage Teenage Acne

How to Manage Teenage Acne

group of teenagers roasting marshmallows_Loven DermatologyProm, friends, homework, football games…and acne. All of these might describe a teenager’s experiences, and as much as we wish it didn’t, acne fits. Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Teenage acne can be particularly difficult and can adversely affect teens’ confidence and social life. However, there are ways to treat acne, including visiting a board-certified dermatologist. Keep reading to learn how to manage teen acne.  

What is teen acne? 

Acne occurs when hair follicles get clogged with oil and dead skin. Teenage acne is often a result of hormonal changes and is most common on the face, forehead, chest, upper and shoulders. There are many kinds of acne, including:  

    • Blackheads. Blackheads occur when a pore gets clogged but stays open. This can cause oxidation, resulting in the dark-colored spot characteristic of blackheads.  
    • Whiteheads. Whiteheads are the result of clogged pores that close and bulge out from the skin, which creates the “whitehead” on the bulge.  
    • Pimples. Pimples happen when the wall of the pore opens, bacteria and dead skin to enter. This results in a small, red bump. If puss is present in the pimple, this is from the body reacting to the bacteria in the pimple. 
    • Cysts. Cysts—or nodules—are caused by pores opening deep in the skin. This causes a painful lump larger than a pimple.  


Acne is most common among teenagers; however, persistent acne may follow some into adulthood.  

How do you treat teen acne?

There are different ways to treat and prevent teen acne. Often, the hormonal changes involved in puberty are the cause of acne, but it may be worsened by certain factors. Try these tips to help clear your teen’s mild acne and keep it manageable. 

  • Keep it clean. Making sure that your teen washes their face regularly is the first step in managing acne. The build-up of oils and dirt on the face throughout the day can clog up pores, which can result in acne. Typically, washing the face twice a day with a gentle cleanser can help keep the skin clean, though if they’re sweating more than usual at a practice or game, it’s important to clean the face soon afterwards.  
  • Lifestyle changes. Sometimes acne can be brought on by certain foods. These are most often greasy foods, like fast food. Ensuring a proper diet (and we know it’s not always easy) will help keep your teen healthy all around. Other lifestyle factors can affect acne, too. Having long hair that touches the face can transfer oil, so ensuring the hair is washed and clean regularly is an important step. 
  • Don’t pick. Though it can be tempting, don’t pick at teen acne. This can be especially difficult for teens, who just want acne gone. But the scarring that can result from excessive skin picking will last longer than the acne flare-up and can cause discoloration later in life.  
  • Over the counter products. Products with acne-fighting ingredients such as benzyl peroxide and salicylic acid can help keep acne at bay. Try using products that are hypoallergenic and fragrance free for teens with sensitive skin. 


When to see a dermatologist for your teen’s acne? 

Though there are ways to manage teen acne at home, seeing a board-certified dermatologist is the best way to manage your teen’s acne. It can be difficult to know when to take your teen to a dermatologist. If their acne is primarily cystic and painful, a dermatologist is the best route. If their acne is affecting their confidence and social life but not being treating by over the counter efforts, a doctor can help prescribe a regimen to help. Normally, a dermatologist will prescribe either prescription-strength creams or pills to help clear acne. The treatment and management regimen will depend on the individual case and symptoms.  

Manage your teen’s acne 

To sum it up, acne is a part of life for most teens. Though it is common, the impacts of teen acne can be far-reaching and affect confidence and self-esteem. That’s why it’s important to seek help from a board-certified dermatologist if your teen’s acne is painful or worsens. The good news is that most teens’ acne will not follow them into adulthood, though adult acne is increasingly common. With these tips, you can understand and help manage your teen’s acne.  

Loven Dermatology, Aesthetics, ResearchAt Loven Dermatology and Aesthetics, we are passionate about providing patients in Middle Tennessee with the best dermatological care and service possible. We want to help you look and feel your best. That’s why we proudly offer highly advanced and individualized treatment for a range of skin concerns and needs. 

Please call us at 615.859.7546 for more information or to schedule your appointment. You can also schedule your complimentary skin consultation online by clicking here